Brewing Business Success

A few weeks ago Kevin Dundon visited town and I sat down for a cup of coffee with him in the daily grind to record an interview for episode 2 of “Brewing Business Success”.

Tim explains some of the intricacies of being part of a fifth generation family business.
Watch the video here it’s subtitled in case you can’t understand Kevin!!

Filming with Ear to the Ground

ear to the groundWatch Ear to the Ground on 24th November.

We were delighted to be involved in the filming of Ear to the Ground both at the shop and at one of our prime beef suppliers farms – Glensouth Farm, the farm of Frank Murphy.

At Glensouth Farm the welfare of the cattle takes an absolute priority and the use of innovative new technology has given them the edge. You can find out more about Glensouth farm when the show is broadcast on 24th November.


McCarthy’s Bramley Apple Bangers with Parsnip and Leek Mash, Sage and Cider Gravy with Black Pudding Crumble: Kitchen Hero – Donal Skehan

It has been a pleasure to work with Donal Skehan this year. In July our wonderful award winning Apple Sausages played a big part in Kitchen Hero:Donal’s Irish Feast on RTE. Donal made McCarthy’s Bramley Apple Bangers with Parsnip and Leek Mash, Sage and Cider Gravy with Black Pudding Crumble. If you want to cook the recipe

Donal also published the recipe in his column in the Independent newspaper. We thank Donal for his support of McCarthys and all the other Irish Food producers that he has featured in the series.

McCarthy’s Bramley Apple Bangers with Parsnip and Leek Mash, Sage and Cider Gravy with Black Pudding Crumble

Jack McCarthy’s black pudding is championed by some of the best Irish chefs – it was served to the Queen on her state visit in 2011 and his Bramley apple sausages are made from free­ range pork. Fortunately they are now becoming more widely available in specialist stores and online.
2 tblsp Rapeseed oil
1 Large onion, very finely sliced
2 tsp Plain flour
1 tblsp Chopped fresh sage
330 ml Bottle artisan dry cider
1­2 teaspoons crab apple jelly
8 Bramley apple pork sausages (preferably jack mccarthy’s) 1 Slice black pudding (preferably jack mccarthy’s)
For the parsnip mash:
675 g Small parsnips, peeled and cut into 2.5cm pieces 25 g Butter
2 Small leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Splash of cream
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. For the parsnip mash, steam the parsnip for 15­20 minutes until tender.
2. Meanwhile, sauté the leeks in the butter in a frying pan until softened but not coloured.
3. Mash the parsnips and season with salt and pepper, then beat in the sautéed leeks with the mustard and cream.
4. For the sage & cider gravy, heat half the rapeseed oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for 10­15 minutes until lightly golden.
5. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute, then gradually add the cider and allow to reduce down by half.
6. Add the sage and then whisk in enough of the apple jelly to taste. 7. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
Important information regarding cookies and RTÉ.ie (
8. Heat the remaining rapeseed oil in a large non­stick frying pan and sauté the sausages until lightly golden all over, turning regularly with a tongs.
9. Transfer to a baking tin and place in the oven for another 10 minutes or until cooked through and tender.
10.Break up the black pudding into small pieces.
11. Return the frying pan to the heat and quickly sauté the black pudding for a couple of minutes until sizzling.
12. Arrange the parsnip and leek mash on warmed serving plates with the Bramley apple bangers and spoon over the sage & cider gravy. Scatter over the black pudding crumble to serve.

Best in Ireland – Georgina Campbell

We were very pleased to be listed as one of the ten best butchers in Ireland by Georgina Campbell on her website. She wrote, “The small shop is beginning to enjoy a comeback and it all started a few years ago with shoppers giving a renewed vote of confidence to the local butcher. Here are just ten iconic businesses that are at the forefront of the shop local revolution.”

See the list by clicking here

Special Award for Exceptional Contribution to Irish Food

Award for butchers behind the queen’s black pudding
Irish Independent

THE artisan butchers who created the bespoke black pudding that was served to Queen Elizabeth during her state visit to last May were among the winners at yesterday’s Irish Food Writer’s Guild awards.

McCarthy’s of Kanturk, in Cork, were one of five food producers awarded for their exceptional contribution to Ireland’s reputation as a top food-producing country.

Jack McCarthy and his son Tim come from a long line of butchers who have been producing meat products for five generations.

Also among the winners were David Tiernan for Glebe Brethan Cheese, which is based in Co Louth.

Their product had its beginnings 20 years ago, when they imported two French Montbeliarde cows; now they have more than 70.

Other winners included Brendan and Derek Allen of Castlemine Farm for Castlemine Farm Free Range Pork in Co Roscommon; Patrick and Carol Rooney for Derrycamma Farm Rapeseed Oil in Co Louth; and chairman of the Irish Apple Growers Association, Con Traas of The Apple Farm in Tipperary, honoured with the Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards took place at Michelin-starred restaurant, L’Ecrivain.

Irish Independent


Jack is awarded the “Twitter Award”

Jack’s twittering reached a climax when he was awarded the “Twitter Award” by Lucinda O’Sullivan. If you want to follow Jack on Twitter and enjoy his insights into Irish food and rugby you will find him @mccarthykanturk or click here

Old faithfuls, and some newcomers
Sunday Independent January 1st 2012

Lucinda O’Sullivan serves up her choices for the best, and ‘could do betters’, of the nation’s dining experiences

IT’S been a year of value menus and early birds, pop ups and pop offs, bloggers and blaggers. My annual awards are a reflection of a colourful dining year for all of us. So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Lucindas 2011!

Click here to see the original article

The Lofty Sardine Award
The Butcher’s Grill in Ranelagh, Dublin, where my feet didn’t touch the ground and my ass was
perched on a high stool, squashed in like a lofty sardine.

The Old Faithful Award
Tom O’Connell, who at a time of deep recession held his nerve and created the excellent
O’Connell’s of Donnybrook, Dublin, where his faithful followers flock.

Small is Beautiful Award
Kosi Moodley’s Indian gem Bistro Spice right in the heart of Monkstown Village, Co Dublin, where
you can also bring your own wine.

The Disappointing Harvest Award
Matt the Thresher in Dublin’s Lower Pembroke Street. Crab claws were small and smaller, and
everything else lived down to the same mantra.

The Strictly Come Dancing Award
Tadgh Foley, who manages the Green Barn Cafe Bistro at Killeagh, Co Cork, will sweep you to your
table in a move that even SCD judges could not whinge about.

The Sour Note Award
Coda at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin, didn’t rock on any score. Ghastly food, and already setting up for
breakfast shortly after we sat down to an early dinner.

The Braveheart Award
Mel Gibson acted the part but John Healy, maitre d’ on TV show The Restaurant — whose grace and
charm astounds all as he awaits a heart transplant — lives it and life to the full.

The Western Stars
JP McManus & Drigin Gaffey, whose Cava and Aniar in Galway are two of the hottest restaurants
west of the Shannon.

Downton Abbey Award
Carton House in Maynooth, Co Kildare, rivals the TV show for grace and beauty.

The Top Roost Award
Joe Macken’s pop-ups Crackbird and Skinflint in Dublin are hitting the highest perches.

The Apprentice Award
Sandra Murphy is more master than apprentice when it comes to running Rising Tide in Cork.

Revolving Door Award
La Stampa, where Louis Murray is now tangoing with Ronan Ryan. Let’s hope they stay in step.

The ‘X Factor’ Award
Finin’s in Midleton, Cork, where Finin O’Sullivan’s vibrant personality is matched only by the quality of his gastropub grub.

The Odd Bird Award
Rachel Clancy’s Magpie Inn in Dalkey, Co Dublin, has been attracting the locals looking for all that glisters.

The Shining Light Award
Electric in Cork city, which turned a bank building into something useful!

The Brangelina Award
Paul Byrne and Fiona McHugh, whose Fallon & Byrne in the capital’s Exchequer Street spawned a whole new dining quarter.

The Top Cat Award
Garret Byrne of Campagne in Kilkenny, whose superb food must be another All Ireland contender.

The Twitter Award
To master butcher Jack McCarthy, who would make Kanturk the Irish capital.

And finally…
Every year I have the Rear of the Year Award — though this year it’s the Fairy Tail End of 2011 as
the beautiful Sally O’Brien of Farmgate in Midleton walked up the aisle yesterday.

There’s nun better

Irish Examiner
By Jack Power

THOUGH, obviously enough, The Old Convent was once a nunnery it is an alpha-male building radiating authority through its assertive, almost garrison-like lines and magnificent stone facade.


It was built when Catholicism was a certainty rather than a choice. The depth of the conviction behind the building shouts out still, long after the nuns have gone. It does not do doubt, it does not waver and there’s no room for even a shard of ambiguity.

And if you’re prepared to make an imaginative leap the same can be said of the wonderful, earthy-rich food presented by Dermot and Christine Gannon.

Like Catholicism of old, it is an absolute package, a take-it-or-leave deal because The Old Convent does not do choice — the house usually offers only a tasting menu. Just as the Catholic hierarchy of old-fought à la carte Catholicism, the Gannons are confident enough to offer a set menu, one not revealed until you arrive.

In our case — DW and I — we enjoyed it thoroughly, even if we did not realise we were to be so constrained as the house style was not explained when I made our booking. Neither did it seem to deter other guests — we had to book several weeks in advance to get a Saturday night table.

Nevertheless, if you are prepared to surrender the dubious pleasure of 10 minutes puzzling your way through a menu, the eight dainty courses were a real pleasure and two, if not three, were exceptional.

Engagements opened with a dessert spoon of duck liver and bantam egg mousse with smoked-duck lardons apple syrup all presented in a decapitated eggshell. It was a velvet-smooth, deeply-rich tasting morsel arranged with care and humour.

The next course, for me at least, screamed more, more and still more. It was in essence, a hint of what might be, as enjoyable a main course as it might have been my pleasure to discover.

It was, and the “it” was hardly a golf-ball-and-a-half in size, slow-cooked Ballinwillan rare breed pork with Cashel blue cheese, pears and candied almonds. It was as impressive a pork-and-fruit combination as I’ve come across and, like a glimpse of heaven, its fleeting pleasure was as frustrating as it was satisfying. Nevertheless it was a truly exceptional combination of textures and tastes.

The next dish — a coffee cup of cauliflower veloute — was dull and the least impressive of the evening.

It was followed by buttermilk poached organic salmon, baked crab, sushi rice, elderflower and pineapple salad. Though impressive enough it was the dish that tried too hard and probably best showed the difference between a tasting menu dish and a dish from an à la carte menu. The essences of the perfectly good ingredients were almost lost in the tasting menu imperative to push the boat out.

Next was a wonderful apple sorbet with raspberry jelly. This is a simple dish that can say more about a kitchen than many others. Here, in contrast to its predecessor, was a victory for the kind directness that underpins great cooking. It was truly exceptional.

So, too, was the next course. Heifer beef, truffled white cocoa beans, wild mushrooms, triple cooked potatoes and veal jus. The beef — flagged as Jack McCarthy’s dry aged — was pretty much as close to perfect as anyone could ask for. It had depth of taste, a tender texture and was cooked in a way that completely honoured the entire process. A third exceptional dish in one evening.

This was followed by two more courses — a lemon posset and a Valrhona dark chocolate pot — and both were really good. Our wine, Condado de Haza Ribera del Duero Tinto 2007 from Ribera del Duero was excellent.

The Old Convent does food-and-accommodation packages and seems to be an ideal place for one of those short, re-energising winter breaks, and even if the weather can’t be guaranteed, it seems the quality of the food can be. And you’ll experience the legacy of the nuns who seem to have left a very calm karma in the building that enhances the whole experience.

Altogether wonderful food, served with style, in a lovely place.

Project aims to save rural meat industry

The Corkman


At the launch of Meat Matters at IRD Duhallow headquarters, Newmarket were from left, Cathal Cronin, Cronins Butchers's, Kanturk; Minister Sean Sherlock who launched the programme; Isobel Fletcher, programme co- ordinator and Tim Mccarthy, Mccarthy's... Credit: Photo by Patrick Casey

A PROJECT to help the local meat supply chain to survive and thrive was launched in Newmarket recently.

The two year project which was launched at IRD Duhallow and its aims is to help small abattoirs, butchers and meat processors across the EU.

THE number of abattoirs across Ireland has fallen in the last two decades from 1,000 to just over 200, and this is a trend which is also repeated across Europe.

However, the ‘Local Meat Supply Chains (SLMSC) project, which is funded by the EU lifelong learning programme, now aims to stem the decline and, importantly, develop an e-learning training programme for small abattoirs, butchers and meat processors throughout Duhallow.

Minister for Research and Development Sean Sherlock officially launched the project and said that supporting the agri food sector is vitally important and will be a major contributor to helping Ireland recover economically.

“It is heartening to see a project addressing some of the challenges faced by the rural meat sector in maintaining profitability and competitiveness,” he said.

Project Co-ordinator at IRD Duhallow Isobel Fletcher said that abattoirs play a key role in the meat supply chain, but yet they have been closing down in the last number of years.

She said that given their rural location, small abattoirs are also faced with the difficulty of retraining and reintegrating staff into the labour market.

“The decline is partly due to external factors such as stringent international legislation, dominance of multinational retailer as well as rising consumer quality demands and scrutiny by environmental and nutritional groups,” said Ms Fletcher.

She told The Corkman that the project has been enthusiastically received by many working in the meat industry.

“They recognise that the future to long term survival depends on developing additional business skills and adding creativity to products and the way in which they do business. The project comes at a time when the industry itself is gearing up for change, she said.


Squab Pigeon on Masterchef Ireland

Mary Carney from Waterford won the title of MasterChef Ireland. McCarthys were delighted that to see their renowned black pudding included in her star dish. 28-year-old Carney from Waterford wowed McGrath and Munier with her final three-course meal serving a warm lobster salad, squab pigeon which seemed to particularly impress and a summer berry plate. Mary, who is a telecommunications policy and strategy advisor with a large telecommunications company, credits her mother with teaching her how to cook.
For the water bath squab:
Smoked bacon
Blend of coriander seeds and black pepper
4 squab
Dark Chicken Stock

For the pea puree:
2 packs of frozen petits pois
2 bags of fresh peas
4 Garlic cloves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Chicken Stock
Sherry Vinegar

For the crumb:
Jack McCarthy’s Black Pudding
400g of Walnuts – shelled preferably

For the braised spring onions:
Water/butter for an emulsion
6 bunches of spring onions

For the crispy bacon:
20 slices of smoked bacon

For the pigeon glaze:
Truffle honey
Dijon mustard

For the pigeon jus
Dark Chicken stock
Sherry vinegar

For decoration:
Flowering pea shoots
Borage flowers

Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees.

For the spring onions: Prepare the spring onions, blanch and set in iced water. Closer to service, warm and cook through both spring onions and blanched peas in a water butter emulsion.

For the crumb: Cook the walnuts at 150 degrees for 15 minutes, remove and peel. Pan fry black pudding until crisp.

For the peas: Cook fresh peas in salted water, remove skins and set in ice cold water. Cook garlic in olive oil and allow to infuse. Cook frozen peas in water for 4 minutes. Blitz frozen peas for 5 minutes, with some light chicken stock, pass through a chinois and add garlic oil to taste, salt and sherry vinegar. Set peas on a bowl of ice to maintain colour.

For the glaze: Mix equal quantities of dijon mustard with truffle honey and set aside.

For the pigeon: Prepare the pigeon pieces and set in 2 vac pac bags with a few thyme sprigs, two slices of smoked bacon, a couple of tablespoons of port and a few knobs of butter. Place in a water bath at 61 degrees celsius for 2 hours. Remove from bag, reserving juices. Pass juices through muslin and reserve for sauce. Using a pastry brush generously paste glaze on to pigeon and place under the grill on high for 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown.

For the pigeon livers: Season livers just before cooking and pan fry in oil and butter for 2 minutes each side on a medium heat.

For the crisp bacon : Crisp bacon under the grill.

For the pigeon jus: Strain the reserved juice into a muslin cloth and allow to boil gently. Add chicken stock and sherry vinegar to taste. Serve alongside the pigeon in a jug.

Finish: Place crumbled pudding and walnuts on to pigeon. Set squab on top of pea puree, scatter with blanched peas and place the onions alongside. Place crisp bacon on the place. Decorate with borage flowers and pea shoots.

Equipment needed:
Two chopping boards
Plastic gloves
Five small metal trays which can be placed under the grill
4 saucepans
Water bath set to 61 degrees
Oven preheated to 150 degrees
Le Micro Blender
Non stick frying pan
Chinoise – or flat chinoise preferrrably
Hand blender
Bowl of ice in freezer

All right on the night

The Irish Examiner

By Pól Ó Conghaile

Behind the clockwork-efficiency of the state dinner for Queen Elizabeth lay tales of last-minute mercy flights to Dublin, six-hour dashes across the country with smoked salmon and ‘forever secret’’ ingredients. Pól Ó Conghaile gets the real story

AS DINNERS go, it will take some beating. On May 18, 172 guests — their names reading like a who’s-who of Irish society — filed into Dublin Castle for a black-tie banquet with Queen Elizabeth.

Liam O’Flynn played the pipes, the queen addressed “a Uachtaráin agus a chairde”, and the crowd was wowed by a sensitive speech and a dress embroidered with more than 2,000 hand-sewn shamrocks.

In the headiness of the moment, of course, it was easy to overlook the food on the plate. Organised by the Department of An Taoiseach, the state dinner menu was designed by Ross Lewis of Michelin-starred restaurant Chapter One, and catered by corporate banqueting company, With Taste.

The menu showcased a stellar range of Irish food and producers, and it was only shortly before the event that many suppliers learned they had made the grade.


“What an opportunity,” was Birgitta Hedda-Curtain’s reaction when Lewis called her at the Burren Smokehouse, asking if she would smoke some salmon for the occasion. “I was excited but you have to keep yourself contained and get it right. It was a great adventure.”

Birgitta and her husband Peter set up their smokehouse in 1989, and have since watched the Lisdoonvarna-based business grow into one of the most successful smokeries in Ireland. Products are mailed all over the world and, as of this year, are stocked at Fortnum & Mason in London.

As fate would have it, the morning before Lewis phoned, Birgitta had been speaking with one of her salmon suppliers, Barbara Grubb of Dromana House in Cappoquin, about wild salmon.

The window for netting this year’s strictly-controlled quota on the River Blackwater had just opened.

“It was unbelievable,” Birgitta recalls. “I drove three hours down and three hours back to get it. The draft netting season started on May 12, and I brought it to Dublin four days later. It was gorgeous fish. Ross wanted wild salmon because, flavour-wise, it’s the best you can get hold of.”

In total, she smoked eight fish for the state dinner. “It was only the queen’s salmon in the oven. When it came out, I did nothing to it. No vacuum-packing, no pin-boning, nothing. It was virginal. I drove it straight up to Dublin and hand-delivered it to Ross in the catering kitchen.”

When her salmon arrived, Birgitta recalls, the chefs immediately went about trimming it, pin-boning it and taking off the smoked skin. At the state dinner, it was served as a cream in the starter course, along with cured Clare Island salmon, lemon balm jelly, horseradish and wild watercress.

“Ross and I both tasted it, and it was fabulous,” she says. There’s a mischievous reaction when I ask whether the queen enjoyed it. “Of course she did — there wasn’t a spot left on her plate!”


Meanwhile, in Drimoleague, Co Cork, an email pinged into the inbox of the Kingston family, requesting samples of unsalted butter, milk, cream and crème fraîche for a top secret event in Dublin.

“We were told what they were being used for but it was confidential,” recalls Valerie Kingston, who runs Glenilen Dairy Farm with her husband Alan. “We were told not to tell anyone because the suppliers wouldn’t be announced until the dinner was served. It all just added to the buzz.”

Shortly after receiving the samples, Ross Lewis confirmed that Glenilen had made the cut. For Valerie and Alan, it was a highpoint in generations of family farming. They went about assembling the order. Everything went to plan, until a crucial item was left behind.

“The products were to go up on the Friday before the dinner, and everything went up except the butter,” Valerie laughs. “Alan came into me on Saturday morning and said that the butter never went. He thought he was going to have to go all the way up to Dublin with it.

“Thankfully, my brother and sister-in-law had visitors down from Belfast, so we asked would they mind taking the samples up.

“Several phone calls and passwords had to be related, and I think the box even had to be opened to confirm the contents, but everything got delivered anyway.”

Glenilen Farm has come a long way since 1997, when Valerie began making cheesecakes for the local country market.

This year, the family won an annual contract worth €500,000 to supply Tesco UK with its homemade cheesecake, enabling them to hire more staff in the recession.

At the dinner in Dublin Castle, the Kingston’s milk and cream featured in a carageen set west Cork cream served with strawberries, fresh yoghurt mousse and soda bread sugar biscuits, and Irish apple balsamic vinegar meringue.

“I suppose it’s the honour of it,” Valerie reflects. “It puts our products and west Cork products on another plain. To be able to say they were fit for the queen … the menus are like gold dust but if we do manage to get a copy I’m going to frame it.”

Though the state dinner was assembled in a matter of weeks, and devoured in a matter of hours, the evening had been generations in the making for many of the producers.


Take McCarthy’s in Kanturk, the butchers that supplied the black pudding for the canapés.

Today, the business is run by Jack McCarthy and his son Tim, but their story goes back five generations to 1892, when a local baker swapped his dough hook for a meat cleaver.

As the story goes, the baker, Callahan McCarthy, was disappointed with the quality of meat available to him at the time, and vowed to do something about it. Almost 120 years later, McCarthy’s pudding had won a prestigious gold medal at La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goûte Boudin, and was served to Elizabeth II.

“Everything was hush-hush,” Jack McCarthy recalls.

“Tim made up a special batch of pudding the Saturday night before. I asked him what was in it, and he said it was the same base ingredients as always — local pork, dry-cure bacon, local onions and herbs, butter and cream from North Cork Co-op and Donal Creedon’s Macroom oatmeal.

“I asked him was there anything special added, and he said there was ‘a touch of Cork magic!’. I think he added a drop of Midleton whiskey! I can’t prove it though, because he won’t tell me.”

When he first heard the queen was coming to Ireland, McCarthy says, he was sceptical.

But the proof was in the pudding, and he sees the state dinner as a supreme vote of confidence in Irish produce and suppliers that are fast making a name for themselves on the international stage.

“We’ve got the water, the air, the grass and the environment,” McCarthy says. “It’s pristine. Why we’re being fed by foreigners I don’t know. We should be feeding the world.”

How Irish suppliers served up dishes deemed fit for a queen

The Menu

Cured salmon with Burren smoked salmon cream and lemon balm jelly, horseradish and wild watercress, Kilkenny organic cold pressed rapeseed oil

Rib of Slaney Valley Beef, ox cheek and tongue with smoked champ potato and fried spring cabbage, new season broad beans and carrots with pickled and wild garlic leaf

Carrageen set West Cork cream with Meath strawberries, fresh yoghurt mousse and soda bread sugar biscuits, Irish apple balsamic vinegar meringue

Irish Cheese Plate

Tea and Coffee

Château de Fieuzal, 2005, Graves Pessac-Léognan

Château Lynch-Bages, 1998, Pauillac

The suppliers

Smoked salmon — Birgitta Hedda-Curtin, Burren Smokehouse, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare
Salmon — Clare Island organic salmon, Clare Island, Co Mayo
Lemon balm — Paul Flynn, The Tannery, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
Organic cold-pressed rapeseed oil — Kitty Colchester, Drumeen Farms, Co Kilkenny
Wild watercress, cabbage, carrots, chive flower and garlic leaf — Denis Healy Farms, Co Wicklow.
Rib of beef — From a Co. Wexford farm, produced by Kettyle Irish Foods, Drumshaw, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh.
Ox cheek and tongue — M & K Butchers, Rathcoole, Co Dublin
Black pudding — McCarthy’s of Kanturk, Co Cork
Potatoes and spring onions — McNally family farm, Ring Common, Co Dublin
Butter, milk, cream and crème fraîche — Glenilen Farm, Drimoleague, Co Cork
Irish apple balsamic vinegar and apples — David Llewellyn, Llewellyn Orchard, Lusk, Co Dublin
Strawberries — Pat Clarke, Stamullen, Co Meath
Milk — Cleary family, Glenisk, Tullamore, Co Offaly
Dittys Irish oatmeal biscuits — Robert Ditty, Belfast
Stoneground wholemeal flour — Kells wholemeal, Bennettsbridge, Co Kilkenny
Buttermilk and butter — Cuinneog Ltd Balla, Castlebar, Co Mayo
Glebe Brethan cheese — produced by David Tiernan in Dunleer, Co Louth
Cashel Blue cheese — produced by the Grubb Family in Fethard, Co Tipperary
Milleens cheese — produced by the Steele Family in Milleens on the Beara Peninsula, Co Cork
Knockdrinna cheese — produced by Helen Finnegan in Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny

Black Pudding with Pears Flambé and Rosemary Cinnamon Carrots


This recipe is from the blog of Chef Bryce Collins, born in Northern Ireland, and who lived in the United States most of his life, serving in the U.S. Navy for 7 years. He recently repatriated back to Ireland to produce a new Culinary Comedy Musical Series, – P.R.A.C.T.I.C.E.



Comice Pears, (One per dish), Not too ripe..
1 cup sugar
Star Anise
2 Lemons
Irish Butter
Baby Carrots (3 or 4 per dish)
Rosemary Chopped
Brown Sugar
Irish butter
Salt & Pepper to taste
Olive oil
Jack McCarthy’s Black Pudding {I used Kerry Style} – (If you’re close enough)
Parma Ham
Malt Vinegar
Garlic (Finely Chopped)
1. Core and peel pears, and let them dry out in Fridge uncovered for a day so that they will dry out a bit and not disintegrate in the pan
2. On a hot pan add the sugar and be sure to spread it out over the pan evenly so it won’t burn in the corners.
3. Add 3 dollops of Irish butter and mix so the sugar won’t separate.
4. Add pears, Star Anise, Cinnamon, Cardamon to the pan.
5. Coat pears with the mix and add rum to flambé. Then add 2/3 of the juice of the lemons to bring down the sweetness of the mixture.
6. Remove pears and strain, set aside, Reserve liquid in a separate bowl.
7. In a separate pan, blanch the carrots in water with rosemary and cinnamon until soft. This can be done up to one day before hand and stored covered in the fridge.
8. Let water reduce or (place a few splashes of water) in the hot pan.
9. Roll carrots around in the pan while sprinkling cinnamon, brown sugar, and a dollop of butter.
10. Continue searing carrots, occasionally adding the brown sugar and butter to taste…
11. Remove the carrots and set aside…
12. Dump the excess of the pan, but don’t clean pan.
13. Season pudding with Salt and pepper
14. Add Olive oil to the hot pan that had the carrots on it.
15. Sear Jack McCarthy’s Award winning Black Pudding, 45 seconds each side. Remove from pan and dab.
16. Wrap the pudding in parma ham and return to fire for an additional 45 second each side and remove and dab
17. Season the Roquette with Salt & Pepper to taste along with the rest of the lemon & a light sprinkle of malt vinegar, and minced garlic.
18. Place pears on the bottom of the plate, then Jack McCarthy’s Award winning Black Pudding, slice and dress the carrots around and the roquette on top.
19. With the remaining juice from the flambé lightly drizzle and serve!
Garnish with Star Anise if you wish…

Jack is named Local Food Hero by Irish Public

The Irish Restaurant Awards are an important event in the Irish food calendar. This year the Sunday Independent sponsored the award for the Local Food Hero. With tough competition in the category, Jack McCarthy was thrilled to be honoured with the award in recognition of his innovation and creativity, as well as his popularity with his customers.

Still reeling from being the creator of the Blackpudding served to Queen Elizabeth at the state banquet, Jack was blown away to receive another honor, this time voted by the Irish public.


FEATURE: Madeleine Keane on the Irish Restaurant Awards

Sunday Independent 29th May 2011
“The Local Food Hero for 2011, sponsored by Life Magazine and presented by Independent News and Media deputy MD Declan Carlyle, was Jack McCarthy, from McCarthy’s of Kanturk, who, judging by the rapturous reception, was an extremely popular winner.”
Read more:

Food and festivals to lure visitors to Leeside

The Irish Examiner

By Eoin English

AN AMBITIOUS tourism strategy will use Cork’s renowned food culture and its 23 annual festivals to tempt an extra one million visitors to Leeside.

Some of the city’s top restaurateurs served up a mouth-watering range of local culinary delights in City Hall last night as the city council launched its dedicated tourism unit which hopes to generate an additional €120 million in tourism revenue a year.

The Tourism, Events, Arts and Marketing (TEAM) unit’s multi-million euro tourism drive will be one of the single biggest direct tourism campaigns ever undertaken by the city — and it is going global.

TEAM, which is now fully responsible for leading the national and international promotion and marketing of the city, is headed by Valerie O’Sullivan, the city council’s director of corporate affairs.

She said the city’s food culture and its diverse range of festivals — more than any other Irish city — are just two elements of what will be a multi-faceted and fully coordinated approach to promoting the city as a city-break and tourist destination.

“We want to shake things up, do things a little bit differently,” she said. “We want to reflect the unique energy and vibrancy of Cork city into an equally energetic and vibrant marketing drive that will get people to sit up and appreciate this magnificent city.

“2011 will be about finding our voice, our message and shouting this from the rooftops.”

TEAM has already identified several short-term projects to enhance the city’s visitor experience, including:

* The establishment of a fully Wi-Fi enabled city centre.

* The roll-out of tourist-friendly directional street signs.

* The installation of on-street information panels with city and area maps including visitor information.

But it also plans to set up expert groups drawn from the city’s hotel, retail, restaurant, media and IT sectors to discuss ways the city can develop and improve its tourism offering.

TEAM will target the domestic market, as well as the British, French and German markets in the short-term.

But Cork’s twin and partner city relationships with Shanghai, Cologne, Rennes, San Francisco, Swansea and Coventry will be tapped in the longer-term to capitalise on the city’s Lonely Planet ‘Top 10 Cities in the World’ designation, and on the opportunities presented by the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Leeside on May 20.

Lord mayor of Cork, Cllr Michael O’Connell, called on every citizen to play their part in realising the “city’s vision for tourism”.

“It’s by no means complete without the critical support and participation of local businesses, tourism partners and the people of Cork who we call on today to help us shape a unique and compelling tourism campaign for Cork city that will put us on the map and promote this city as the number one must-visit city for domestic and international visitors,” he said.

“Collaboration and cross team partnerships will form the bedrock for TEAM’s way of working and success and we need everyone’s help to make it a success.”

City manager Tim Lucey said tourism, which has been identified as a “major economic driver” to help the nation recover from the economic collapse, “needs to be a key focus of our city and people”.

“Tourism plays a huge role in Cork city’s economy and is worth €317m, supporting 2,325 full time equivalent jobs a year,” Mr Lucey said.

“In order to grow this, Cork City Council’s overarching ambition is to galvanise the city’s resources and partners to help shape an ambitious and progressive tourism drive with clear areas of focus over the next five years.”

Guests at last night’s launch, including the British Ambassador to Ireland, Julian King, sampled poached mutton with caper sauce from the Farmgate, smoked salmon fishcake with salsa verde, from Jacques, Kanturk black pudding on Tipperary apple crisp with an edible lavender flower and local rhubarb, from Nash 19, salted rolled mackerel served with potato rosette and a shot of gooseberry cordial from Augustine’s and chilled gazpacho with pickle cucumber, lemon creme fresh and a parmesan stick, from Les Gourmandises.

The treats were washed down with Rebel Red and Blarney Blonde from the Franciscan Well.

Cork tourism value for money

* A study in 2004 by Dr Richard Moloney, of UCC’s Centre for Policy Studies, showed tourism plays a huge role in Cork city’s economy. The report shows tourism is worth €317 million to the city, supporting 2,325 full-time equivalent jobs, and is worth a further €87.3m to the city’s hinterland, supporting 639 full-time equivalent jobs.

* The city’s arts industry is valued at €207.5m, supporting 1,050 full-time equivalent jobs.

* 23 annual festivals generate annual income of €16.2m, supporting 102 full-time equivalent jobs while galleries and studios generate a further €12m to the city.

* Fáilte Ireland research shows 61% of people visiting the region are here on holiday, with 11% on a business trip.

* Britain and mainland Europe are hugely influential markets to tap into with 84% of all visitors coming from there.

* Transatlantic visitors account for 16% of all visitors to the south-west and this is expected to grow as markets recover.

* UCC commissioned to conduct a new study on tourism and its importance to the city.

Read more:

Naughty or Nice?

Foodies Aoife McElwain and Aoife Barry must have heard of Jack’s wonderful chocolate pudding – which is both naughty and nice – because they gave him a mention in today’s paper.

You can read the full article by clicking here

Irish Independent

Foodies to follow:



Jack McCarthy is the patriarch of McCarthy’s of Kanturk, a north Cork butcher that

has been providing locals with top-quality meat since 1892. Jack communicates with

customers via Twitter and has opened an online shop. Try their delicious north Cork

pancetta or the array of outstanding sausages, as well as the notoriously addictive

black pudding. See

Di Curtin’s – Eggs Benedict

by Di Curtin – The Weekend Foodie – The Evening Echo

With all the pizazz of a Royal Wedding and the long weekend coming up – I’m in the mood for some romantic celebratory food!

It’s a glamorous bank holiday brunch fit for a prince and his new bride – or anyone who is tying the knot this time of year: Of course you don’t have to be tying any knots to enjoy a touch of elegance in food this weekend. Eggs Benedict is an all time favourite – good, fresh, free-range effs softly poached and perched on muffins, dressed with a classic Hollandaise sauce and some crisp pancetta is a real long weekend treat.

Jack McCarthy of Kanturk makes his own version of the Italian pancetta, which crisps up wonderfully when you fry it in a pan. Hollandaise is not as scary to make as some would have you believe.

When I was training as a chef I made buckets of the stuff every morning for our room service menu.

I made it by hand as the head chef always insisted, but you can make it in the blender for ease – just put the blender on slow speed to add the butter very gently so the sauce emulsifies properly. I like the pancetta on top of the eggs and sauce but you can pop it underneath in traditional style if you like.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For the sauce:
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 large free range egg yolks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g butter

To Finish:
8 thin slices of Pancetta
8 large free range eggs
4 muffins halved
Parsley for decoration.


  • For the hollandaise sauce, place the vinegar in a pan and simmer to reduce to one tablespoon of liquid.
  • Place egg yolks in a blender with seasoning and whizz till blended. Slowly melt butter in a pan.
  • Pour the vinegar into the eggs and blend again. Pour the melted butter into a jug with a spout.
  • With the blender running on slow add the butter in a trickle to begin with, then a thin steady stream, till all is incorporated and the sauce has a creamy fairly thick consistency.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice and check the seasoning, then place in a bowl, cover and stand the bowl in a pan of warm, but not boiling water – if the water is too hot the sauce will curdle. This will keep the sauce warm while you poach the eggs and cook the pancetta.
  • Fry pancetta crisp in a dry frying pan. It shouldn’t need extra oil.
  • At the same time, poach the eggs in water with a splash of vinegar added. They should be soft so the yolks are still runny when eaten.
  • Pop the eggs on warm lightly toasted muffin halves and pour over some sauce.
  • Perch the crisp pancetta on top to serve. Decorate with parsley sprigs.

The butcher, the baker and a fascinator-maker

The Sunday Independent.

In the past two years, 23 small businesses have opened in Kanturk, writes Lucinda O’Sullivan

‘TRY Town First’ is the slogan in Kanturk, the north Cork town where two rivers, the Allow and the Dallow, converge in a surge of rushing waters.

“We know it is not realistic to expect everyone to do all their shopping in the town, but we encourage people to buy a bit more locally, and we are promoting the town as a viable place to shop in,” said Kieran Fitzgerald, of Fitzgerald Insurance and chairman of the Chamber of Commerce.

Kanturk is a very attractive town, with a Georgian influence, a 17th century castle, a market square, two bridges, three riverside parks, and an imposing church. ‘Kanturk’ is derived from Ceann Tuirc (Boar’s Head) and a stone marks the spot where the last boar in Ireland was reputedly slain. The town has a lot going for it in that it is also less than an hour’s drive from Cork, Tralee, Limerick and Killarney. There is a strong community feel in the town, which has an annual arts festival, but most extraordinary of all, it has seen the opening of 23 new small businesses since February 2009.

I had only been in Kanturk once before at a funeral where we had ended up in the Alley Bar — a fantastic old-style pub and shop with nooks and snugs, and history hanging off its walls.

The Alley Bar is owned by Eilis O’Connor and her husband John D O’Connor. The premises was always a pub and shop, which Eilis’s father, Ned Jones, had traced back to the 1890s. There was a famous ball alley at the back, hence its name, and from the Thirties to the Fifties, there were “famous All Ireland games there”. It was owned back then by a husband and wife team of two Doctors O’Toole. In 1959, Dr O’Toole retired and the pub remained closed for a couple of years. Eilis’s father, Ned, working in the creamery company across the road, would look over and bemoan the closure of the pub where he used drink as a young man. One day he said to his wife Mary, “We’ll buy the pub!” They bought it in 1961 and now it is run by Eilis.

One of the longest standing businesses in the town is McCarthy’s Butchers. Jack McCarthy is a very pro-active artisan food producer, and a great public relations man for Kanturk. He is the fifth generation of his family business which was founded in 1892 by Callaghan McCarthy, a baker who put down his dough hook and took up a butcher’s cleaver because he couldn’t buy decent meat for his table. Looking at the old ledgers you could see where the business suddenly changed from selling bread to the next day selling meat. All of the old Kanturk names are in the book, and all are still in the area, Sullivan, Conway, Clancy, Mahony, Dillon, O’Connor, Barrons. You could also see too that the British Army was in occupation. There is also a great picture taken of a group of men “the day Parnell visited town” and Jack’s son, Tim McCarthy, the sixth generation in the business, proudly showed me his two great grandfathers.

The McCarthys, father and son, produce the most wonderful charcuterie. Last year they were crowned members of the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Black Pudding, won in the face of intense competition from 4,000 entrants in the ‘Black Pudding Capital’, the Normandy town of Mortagne au Perche, by La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Goute Boudin — who visited here in force last year.

The future for Ireland is tourism and food — we have to push our wonderful artisan produce. Specialities at McCarthy’s include Putog Ceann Toirc, Boar’s Head Pudding, Irish Whiskey Haggis, traditional dry cured bacons, honey cured roast pork, French style boudins with cream and apple, honey, garlic, an Ardrahan cheese sausage, the regular Cork-style white pudding, a new seafood sausage, and many many more inventive delicious puddings. “Pudding has gone through the roof,” says Jack, “they want it everywhere.”

Around the corner is Mark Reidy of Duhallow Seafoods, who opened his compact fish shop about six months ago and is “delighted with it”. He has been in the fish business a while, working at one point in a fish shop in Skibbereen. He was then selling fish from vans, door to door, but “it was too hit and miss” so he decided to give himself a base and open his own fish shop.

“I keep my prices reasonable and I round it down, say if it was €10.60 I’d give it for €10, I’m not stuck in my prices. The more someone buys, the better the discount.” Business is good, he says, and he is a firm believer in giving back to the community with everyone supporting one another in local business. Mark has also developed his product further by working with a local restaurant, Bob’s, which produces lasagnes, fish cakes and seafood pies which Mark sells in his shop. “These dishes offer great value; if you were to buy the ingredients yourself you couldn’t do it cheaper.”

A few doors down is Tina Sheehan, who opened her children’s clothing shop, Jemma Jim, in October 2009. “It’s great,” Tina says, “we have a lot of fun. We haven’t been here in times past when people were having massive profits whereas, you know, we think it’s going great.”

Tina worked with Mallow Urban Council for four years but then her contract was up. “I have an eight-year-old daughter, I always loved clothes and fashion and previously worked with children, but I just didn’t want to go back into a formal setting.”

Tina’s motto is to be “more affordable — that’s what we are looking for. If people want to spend €10 or €25 on a couple of things, great. We supply gift wrapping it keeps customers’ costs down.” They have outfits for children of all ages, equipment and toys, First Communion plus debs dresses. “Some little girls don’t want to spend a lot so I have lovely dresses from €65 up to the very top at €300, likewise Communion dresses run from €50 to €200.” Tina encourages girls to buy classics that they can wear again, and also to loan dresses to one another. “All I wanted to do was to bring affordable fashion, and also to do big sizes for children, I am very sensitive about that, I want shopping to be fun for kids, not a nightmare!”

Across the street from Duhallow Seafoods is Kanturk Photo Framing, where Bertie Harman originally had a “chipper” in 1994. He then bought the building and started a video business, moving into the photographic business and framing.

“After Christmas was quiet,” Bertie says, “but it has really picked up particularly with the recent arts festival.”

Madison Avenue is a shoe shop owned by Geraldine O’Callaghan from west Limerick, which opened in Kanturk in December 2010 after two years in Mallow. “The first year in Mallow was going okay but my location wasn’t good. If you are not constantly being seen by the customer on the main thoroughfare, you are forgotten very rapidly.”

Geraldine stocks children’s shoes such as Startrite, Ricosta and Pablosky. She also stocks ladies’ shoes, including Rockport, an American label. “Obviously price points have had to come down hugely in the recession. The first year I opened you could easily sell shoes for €150 to €200 but now it is hard to sell anything past €80. There is a massive change so you have to have different price points, stocking ranges that are good for this economy.”

Kate’s Kitchen is a deli that also opened in December 2010. “It’s up and down but it’s good, I always have people coming back for repeat orders,” says owner Catriona O’Keeffe.

Catriona, who has twin girls aged seven, bakes scones, brown breads, carrot cakes and lemon drizzle cakes every day — you would hang around just for the aromas! Catriona also makes daily potato salad, pesto pasta and Waldorf salad. She boils her own hams, glazes them with honey and brown sugar and she gets steak mince for her shepherd’s pies from McCarthy’s, of course. She also stocks jams and preserves, Ardrahan cheeses and Ardrahan Lullaby milk, which has a naturally higher level of melatonin so helps you sleep. “I am busy until 2 o’clock every day cooking and baking. I have total control over quality when I do it myself but I now also have three girls working part-time to help.”

Denise Hickey took over the Perfect Fit from previous owners in November 2010. Denise also has a DVD, games and consoles shop but was always looking for the right underwear and shapewear for herself and the right shop came up! “It was a big jump from DVDs to lingerie,” she says. “In general, you do have your quiet days but occasions have a lot to do with the business. People want the right bra for a wedding, Communion, Confirmation, or under a dress for a Saturday night!

Martina Drew of the Crowning Glory opened her shop in 2009. “I was unemployed for six months and I decided this was either the time to do it or not. I am delighted with the business.” She started out with accessories, handbags, jewellery and fascinators. “I now make my own fascinators in all colours to match people’s outfits for weddings and special occasions and in the last month I have gone into ladies’ fashions, going up to size 26.”

“We work off one another here — I send people over to The Perfect Fit for underwear and Denise would send people to me. The wedding season is big and I have lots of orders now for fascinators — cerise pink is big this summer — but I have to make sure people aren’t going to the same wedding.” Wise woman!

Finally I met Teddy Ambrose of Ambrose Ironworks. Teddy comes from a long line of blacksmiths who have been in business in Kanturk since the family came to Ireland from Heidelberg in Germany in the 18th century.

So from putogs to bras, seafood to shoes, cupcakes to iron craft, there is plenty on offer in Kanturk. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and it is imperative that we remember this when we spend our euro. It’s all about Meitheal!

Kanturk father and son join the Brotherhood of Black Pudding


AWARD titles come in many forms, but McCarthy’s Butchers in Kanturk can justifiably claim to have one of the more unusual under their belts.

Jack and his son Tim can now be known as members of the ‘Brotherhood of the Knights of the Black Pudding’ – a title they won in the face of intense competition from 4,000 entrants from across Europe in a black pudding contest held in France. The title also goes by the name – La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goúte Boudin.

Tim McCarthy told The Corkman that, considering the last wild boar in the country was slain in Kanturk — and no doubt his red blood was made into tasty black pudding — that it was fitting the accolade should to to Duhallow country.

The father and son team spotted the competition on the Internet, entered it and sent off their produce. The annual competition in Mortagne-au-Perche in Normandy is taken very seriously and the entire town is decked out in flags and balloons for the competition. There is also a parade through the town and where entrants showcase their puddings.

This reporter remarked that the title of the accolade had all the hallmarks of a Monty Python sketch. “That is very true, particularly when people are decked out in costumes and there’s music and a parade all in homage to the humble black pudding,” laughed Tim.

Recently, McCarthy’s launched a new online website and can have their produce at anyone’s door throughout the country in 16 hours. Tim explained that all foods are put in a specialised cooled container and once they receive an order, it is prepared and delivered.

He said that, with the downturn in the economy, the day of the “Celtic Tiger fillet steak,” is well and truly gone and people are going back to basics. “A belly of pork is now back in vogue and it’s also great comfort food. People are going back to recipes that their grandmothers had,” he said.

When a customer signs up on McCarthy’s website, they will receive a deluge of recipes with cialities that include Sliabh Luachra beef, Guinness and cider spiced beef and North Cork pancetta.


Top of the Puds


by John Daly

How a dash of whiskey helped us win France’s gold medal for black pudding

If revenge is a dish best taken cold, it’s been worth the wait to put one over on the French. After the disenchantment of Thierry Henry’s “hand of fate” the nation can finally take a degree of vengeance having nabbed a gold medal from under the noses of the gauls.

Jack and Tim McCarthy of McCarthy’s Butchers in Kanturk were last week crowned members of the “Brotherhood of the Knights of the Black Pudding” – a distinction won in the face of intense competition from 4,000 entrants from across Europe, at La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Goute Boudin, a festival devoted to the joys of superior black pudding held each year in the Normandy Town of Mortagne au Perche.

“Last year was a tester for us, a way to suss out the opposition and find out what was required.” explains the affable Jack, a man who the epicurean delights of dried pig’s blood have made the toast of the international black pudding fraternity.

“Like Franz Beckenhauer said years ago, “I may not be the fastest man from A to B but I don’t always start at A.” There are ways around these things”, he declares with a cheeky wink.

“Seriously though, it was really about making the pudding in a contemporary style, but still maintaining the integrity.”

To those of us whose only familiarity with the joys of blood sausage is the Saturday morning fry up, the standard on display at this annual pudding face-off in Normandy is light years above and beyond the factory made product found in your local supermarket.

“This gathering at Montagne au Perche is really the best of the best,” says Jack. “It’s a place where the French truly genuflect at a tradition that dates back centuries. And while we might question their attitude to fair play in soccer, there’s no doubting the high esteem they hold their food in.”

During the week long festival, gastronomic stalls dot the town squares, whilst specialist butchers demonstrate the art and mysteries of sublime black pudding creation. Up to 10km of the delicacy is consumed by the eager multitudes during the week, and prizes are awarded for Best Black Pudding Eater and Best Pig Squeal.

In France, boudin noir varies from region to region but generally has apples, onions and mashed potatoes as a filler. “We found the reception to our product extremely good out there,” says Jack. “They have even indicated they would like to bring the competition to Ireland, which would be enormous and we are encouraging them in that direction.”

With a history dating back to ancient Rome, Black Pudding has its variations across the world from the Netherlands’ bloedworst to Italy’s buristo and Finland’s mustamakkara. Even South America has its moreilla, where the blood is mixed with rice and spices.

“Black Pudding really began as a survival food around the world, and is a very different creature tot eh so-called fancy cuisine we’ve been putting up with in recent years,” the Kanturk man explains.

“It came from the times when waste was not an option, when all parts of the animal had a nutritious use. Nowadays, wer’re throwing away half the animal – and we wonder why things are the way they are.”

As Ireland digs deep to cope with the new economic reality, a return to old traditions is on the cards. “We’ll have to reinvent ourselves and learn again how to survive again,” says Jack.

“We have dispensed with the techniques and methods of producing local foods, and it’s got to the stage where more is put into the packaging than the product itself and us Irish have some of the best traditions in the world but we don’t seem to realise what an incredible resource is lying under our noses.”

The McCarthy business began in 1892, when Jack’s ancestor, Callaghan McCarthy, an accomplished local baker in Kanturk, got a poor cut in his local butcher’s and saw a niche in the market.

Deciding to change career, he put away his dough hook and replaced it with a set of butchers’ knives.

In a business that has straddled three centuries and adapted to the changing tastes of each era, McCarthy’s example of commercial survival and independence presents a miniature image of where the nation as a whole might go.

“We need to learn how to sell what we have to the world, and our food is top of that list,” he believes. “A golfer, for example, will come to Ireland and venture on the course once a day – but he has to eat three times a day.

“I often look in restaurant windows on my travels around the country, and I remember well the day I saw ads for American-style rins in one place, Mediterranean – style prawns in another and Cajun-style chicken in a third. In the name of God, where is Ireland in all this? Have we forgotten what we have to sell here?”

Ireland needs a serious wake-up call, he says, to focus on the goods the world wants are part of our plan to survive the economic cataclysm.

“We need to nurse our own culture, and aren’t black pudding, brown bread and full salted butter all intrinsic parts of that?” he asks.

But while the world has a proven appetite for all things Irish, much of our economic renaissance will rest on the quality of salesmanship employed to push the product, he feels.

“I travel all over the world to trade fairs with Good Food Ireland and I see some poor creatures on stalls who wouldn’t be able to sell ince-cream in the desert. You can have the best product in the world but you still need to know how to sell it.”

So what’s the McCarthy secret? Well on top of the traditional curing techniques, innovative spice combinations, and delicious smokes and Irish Whiskey employed to impart unique flavours and tenderness to their wide range of products, the McCarthys’ emphasise their free range pigs as a fundamental ingredient in their success.

“There should be nothing unusual in seeing pigs digging for roots in open fields,” Jack says, pointing to the nearby pasture where dozens of contented porkers happily snort.

“Sadly, scenes like this are a rare occurrence for the majority of pigs farmed intensively. Our pigs enjoy wide open spaces to dig and play in the open air, to exercise and maintain a natural diet. The good life they lead is the essential ingredient that makes our puddings what they are,” he says with obvious pride.

Before returning to attend the steady stream of customers in his shop who have come in search of today’s delicacy, Jack McCarthy finishes with another sporting reference.

“When Cork win the All Ireland this year, we’ll make the finest black pudding ever seen in these parts,” he promises, “Now that will be something special.”

Kate’s Sliabh Luachra Beef Salad

Having been thrilled with Kate O’Toole using McCarthy’s fabulous Sliabh Luachra Air Dried Beef on “The Restaurant”, it was a further privilege that the recipe was in this week’s RTE Guide.

Air-dried Sliabh Luchra Beef with fresh figs, Desmond Cheese and Rocket Salad


sliabh luachra salad

225 g air-dried unsmoked Sliabh Luchra beef
1 tablespoon best aged Balsamic Vinegar (25-year-old preferably)
150g organic rocket leaves
80g Desmond cheese shavings
4 large fresh ripe black figs, quartered
1-2 tablespoons first cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Slice the beef very, very thinly (best get this done with a proper butcher’s slicer as it should be wafer thin). Divide the beef into four portions and fan out in the centre of four serving plates.

Put the Balsamic vinegar in a bowl and toss the rocket leaves in it, then scatter them on top of the beef.

Place the figs on the rocket and sprinkle the Desmond cheese shavings over everything. Drizzle everything lightly with a little olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

This recipe and the images used on this page are from the RTE website and you could originally view it here:

Good food gets better

The Irish Examiner

By Darina Allen

I’M CONTINUALLY surprised by how thrown waiting staff in many restaurants seem to be if one asks about the provenance of the food. They immediately seem to go on the defensive and it can take three or four attempts to find out the source of a piece of meat, fish or cheese.

A recent attempt to identify a cheese on a salad in a Cork restaurant came back first as Irish, secondly as west Cork and eventually, after I’d decided not to venture any further, I was presented with the name of a co-op in Co Tipperary. I’m still none the wiser about the name of the cheese or the cheese maker. Sadly, nowadays – despite the fact that local is the hottest word in the gastro vocabulary – the source of supply is more likely to be a multinational catering company than a local supplier, not to speak of a farmer or fisherman.

Why aren’t more restaurants serving local food proudly? Those of us in the hospitality business depend on local people to support our restaurants and hotels, yet few enough consider it a priority or obligation to put some money back into the local community by supporting local butchers, bakers, farmers, cheese makers or vegetable and fruit growers. Those who do, generate tremendous good will for their business and hugely enhance the experience for their guests by incorporating local food in season and identifying the producer on their menu. This is a win-win situation for both the customer and the producer. The latter gets the credit for the product and extra sales when satisfied customers go in search of the original next time they go shopping. Cork has a history of being proud of its own so Good Food Ireland Cork Week – from Monday, February 8, to Friday, February 12 – gives us the perfect opportunity to showcase the bounty of Cork city and county.

To mark the first Good Food Ireland Cork Week, restaurants and hotels, pubs and cafés all over Cork will serve a Good Food Ireland plate incorporating the food of the local Good Food Ireland members for €15 per plate including a glass of wine.

Good Food Ireland was founded by Margaret Jeffares in November 2006. It operates as a not-for-profit industry driven Irish food tourism organisation. It is the only industry group with an all island food tourism strategy.

The Good Food Ireland food map pulls all the strands of the food jigsaw together. The website has tons of info on little gems around the country. Kay Harte of the Farm Gate Restaurant in the English Market will offer her guests Millstreet Venison Casserole from Jack McCarthy Meats in Kanturk. Millstreet Country Park farmed venison is not as strong or gamey as the wild meat and is available fresh all year round.

Claire Nash of Nash 19 on Princes Street in Cork has had a Good Food Ireland plate on the menu since March 2009 which offers the produce of eight to 10 artisan producers to a tremendous response from her customers.

The plates change daily and include Belly of Pork and Free Range Bacon from Crowes in Co Tipperary, Sliabh Luachra and Smoked Beef from Jack McCarthy Meats in Kanturk, a selection of smoked fish from the Burren Smoke House, charcuterie and cheese from Gubbeen in west Cork, Cooleeney Brie from Thurles, Co Tipperary; Inch Pudding from Thurles in Tipperary, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese from Carrigtwohill, Co Cork; Organic Millhouse Smoked Salmon from Geraldine Bass in Buttevant, Co Cork and Nash 19 chicken liver pate and Nash 19 organic brown bread made from Sowans Organic Flour.

Ballymaloe House will feature the produce of many local producers including Tom Clancy’s Ballycotton Free-range Chicken, Noreen and Martin Conroy’s Woodside Farm Bacon and Bill Casey’s Shanagarry Smoked Salmon. So let’s get out there and celebrate Good Food Ireland.

Read more:

Rozanne’s Spiced Beef

Rozanne Stevens’ Guinness and Cider Spiced Beef

spiced_beef_smallThis recipe is from Rozanne’s Recipe Corner on the Pat Kenny Show. As well as being a regular guest on the Pat Kenny show Rozanne Stevens writes a column in The Health and Living Supplement of the Irish independent and she has been Head Tutor in Cooks Academy in Dun Laoghaire over the last 4 years.

1 joint spiced beef
1 onion, halved
1 carrot, chunked
1 stick celery, chunked
1 bay leaf
4 cloves

Place all the ingredients in a large pot cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 3 hours, topping up with water.

Serve with relish or chutney.

Breakfast at 103FM

Tim McCarthy had a great morning when he did a live cooking slot on Colum McGrath’s breakfast show on C103, County Sound Radio.  He cooked up a selection of McCarthys award winning products for breakfast, including the wonderful blackpudding which was awarded a medal in France recently by the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Blackpudding. If you missed it live on the Radio you can  listen to it here by clicking play below.

MSNBC, USA, 16th March 2009, “A Taste of Ireland

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thank you to Catherine Fulvio of Ballyknocken Cookery School for mentioning McCarthy’s North Cork Pancetta during a recent piece of filming she did for broadcast on MSNBC in the USA. Catherine is also a member of Good Food Ireland.

Highly acclaimed, Ballyknocken Cookery School lies in the pretty village of Glenealy near Ashford, County Wicklow. Catherine is the food writer for the Irish Garden Magazine and has made many media appearances in leading magazines such as Saveur USA, and TV such as Discovery, The Food Network, UKTV Food, RTE 1 & 2, TV3 to name a few.